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Levein to take over as Scotland manager

CRAIG LEVEIN will today be unveiled as the new Scotland manager, barring any last-minute hitches.

Levein and the Scottish Football Association’s office bearers, chief executive Gordon Smith, president George Peat, and board members Campbell Ogilvie and Alan McRae, met in an Edinburgh hotel yesterday where the Dundee United manager’s concerns over the extent of his role were said to have been answered.

It is expected Levein will be formally confirmed as George Burley’s successor once several outstanding minor issues are dealt with, including Levein’s insistence that Peter Houston is appointed as his full-time assistant.

Levein has been a leading candidate for the post ever since Burley was sacked last month and was installed as outright favourite once Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, made it clear he had no desire to return for a second spell in charge of the national team, and others such as Gordon Strachan and Graeme Souness similarly ruled themselves out of contention.

Dundee United reluctantly gave their manager permission to talk with the SFA this week and, following “positive discussions”, it seems likely Levein will be officially appointed later today, then unveiled to the media later in the week.

The 45-year-old had admitted that he was “dead keen” on the job but has also said he had reservations about missing out on the day-to-day involvement with players he enjoys in club football.

Scotland’s international commitments only stretch to around six games per year and it is likely Levein will seek to take on responsibility for the Scottish game as a whole, devoting his time to grassroots development as well as the bid to take the senior team to Euro 2012.

United will seek significant compensation for the loss of their manager and director of football who is under contract at Tannadice until 2012 but Stephen Thompson, the club chairman, has said he would not stand in Levein’s way.

Thompson also revealed that he would seek Levein’s advice over his replacement. “Craig and I had a long chat over the weekend and we’ve both been very honest and open with each other,” Thompson said. “We want him to stay but whatever happens, our relationship will be intact.

“He’s someone I rate very highly so if it does come to finding a successor I’d be more than happy to listen to any suggestions he has. That’s not to say I’d definitely pay heed to what he says but someone with his knowledge of the game is always worth listening to.”

Levein joined United in 2006 after stints in charge at Cowdenbeath, Hearts, Leicester City and Raith Rovers.

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